The widespread use of mobile devices raises numerous security concerns for organizations because users can so easily lose their devices, and therefore company data. Many companies have attempted to secure their users' mobile devices by using third-party smart cards and smart card readers that are physically attached to the device—a solution that isn't convenient for users because such attachments increase the size and weight of their mobile device. And typically, if users lose their device, they also lose the reader.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Research in Motion (RIM)—the manufacturer of BlackBerry—has addressed these concerns by designing a wearable BlackBerry Smart Card Reader. The user wears the BlackBerry Smart Card Reader on a lanyard, with the smart card inserted in the reader at all times, and the device communicates via Blutooth. This product includes a unique security measure that locks the user's BlackBerry if the reader is out of range. The BlackBerry Smart Card Reader also provides two-factor authentication by requiring that the reader be within a certain distance of the BlackBerry before the user can authenticate by entering his or her password. This security feature prevents data from falling into the wrong hands if the BlackBerry—or BlackBerry Smart Card Reader—is lost or stolen.

RIM has made the BlackBerry Smart Card Reader available for use with Windows PCs, as well. This product can replace external smart card readers and works the same way with PCs as it does with a BlackBerry. Note that the BlackBerry Smart Card Reader works only with Blutooth-enabled Windows XP SP2 PCs. The smart card reader is a great alternative to traditional smart card readers because smart cards can be lost so easily or left in the reader when the user walks away, making data accessible to anyone who wants to view it.

The BlackBerry Smart Card Reader provides an additional level of security by providing FIPS 140-2 validated encryption technology and S/MIME support. This product also includes AES-256 encryption, which secures your Blutooth connection.

For more information about the BlackBerry Smart Card Reader, go to http://www.blackberry.com/go/smartcardreader.